15 Types of Bees in Kentucky

Types of Bees in Kentucky
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An interesting fact about Kentucky is that it boasts more types of bees than most other states in America—nearly 20 different species are found in the state, though they aren’t native to Kentucky; settlers and their descendants introduced them.

While most people have heard of the European honey bee, there are many other types of bees in Kentucky that you might not be aware of, such as sweat bees, bumble bees, long-horned bees, mason bees, and mining bees.

1. Bumblebees

Bumblebees are often confused with honeybees due to their similar size and coloration.

Unlike honeybees, which are well known for producing honey and being social, bumblebees do not produce honey.

They are also solitary, meaning they live alone rather than together as a colony. 

Bumblebees can be challenging to tell apart from other types of bees due to their wide range of colors and patterns.

One way is by looking at the shape of the abdomen; bumblebee abdomens are long and curved, while most other types have shorter cores that curve upward.

Check out this infographic for more information about the different types of bees in Kentucky!

2. European (Western) Honey Bees

European (Western) Honey Bees are considered the essential types of bees in Kentucky. They are social insects, meaning they live and work together collectively.

European Honey Bees create giant honeycombs made from wax produced by worker bees, who use their abdomens to cool it down and form it into hexagonal cells for larvae to grow inside.

The queen bee fertilizes the eggs laid by worker bees. From spring through fall, European Honey Bees make honey and pollinate plants.

They also produce aromatic substances to ward off predators like bears and skunks!

3. Large Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are one of the most common types of bees in Kentucky. They live up to their name by drilling holes into wood to make nests.

They will use wood from your barn, deck, or house as their home, so you must know what you’re looking for before it is too late.

The bee will be about 1-1/2 inches long and have a shiny black body with yellow markings on the abdomen.

Carpenter bees are usually only active during the day, but they can also be seen at dusk.

If you see these giant bees around your porch light, there is a good chance that they are carpenter bees.

If you spot these bees hanging out near an opening in your house, take action immediately! They often enter through windows and doors.

Don’t worry, though; there are steps you can take to get rid of them quickly. These bees don’t sting humans but eat honeydew and nectar-like other types of bees do.

4. Small Carpenter Bees

The type of bee most commonly found in Kentucky is the small carpenter bee.

These types of bees in Kentucky are black and yellow or black and white, with a long tongue. The females will sting if they feel threatened, but they are not aggressive insects to humans.

Male carpenter bees do not have stingers, so they don’t pose any harm to people.

Carpenter bees typically nest above ground (in trees) rather than below ground like other bees, such as bumblebees or honeybees.

They usually make their nests from wood shavings cut from dead tree limbs or rough boards near where they build their nests.

Males attract females by drumming on hard surfaces with their legs–making a sound similar to that of a beating drum. Females release pheromones, which males use to locate them.

5. Long-Horned Bees

The long-horned bee is solitary, with an abdomen twice as long as its thorax. The female bee’s body length ranges from 5 to 7 mm, and the male ranges from 4 to 6 mm.

They are known for their long antennae, up to twice as long as the rest of their bodies.

These types of bees in Kentucky are often confused for bumblebees but have a greenish head, thorax, and black abdomen.

Males usually have longer antennae than females. When not in use, the antennae are folded around the back of the head between their eyes.

Females live alone in nests on tree trunks or under rocks or soil, collecting pollen and nectar for themselves.

6. Sweat Bees

There are over 800 types of bees in Kentucky, and the most common type is the sweat bee. The sweat bee got its name because it collects moisture from plants and animals to keep itself cool.

These types of bees in Kentucky live on flowers like honeybees, but they don’t produce honey.

When enjoying nature, keep an eye out for these tiny yellow and black striped insects. We have a wide variety of different types of bees in Kentucky, and we want to share them with you!

Here are 15 types of bees in Kentucky that you may not know existed: The sweat bee has the same diet as the honeybee but cannot produce honey.

7. Squash Bees

When you think about the types of bees in Kentucky, you might think about honeybees. However, many other types of bees are native to the Bluegrass State.

Here are just a few: carpenter bee, squash bee, sweat bee, mining bee, leafcutter bee, and mason bee.

It’s important to note that not all bees produce honey or make their homes inside beehives.

Squash and sweat bees are solitary creatures, meaning they live alone and don’t create hives for raising young.

Mason bees have been used for centuries as an alternative to chemical pesticides because they pollinate plants naturally without harming them.

Mining bees get their name because they bore into the wood as carpenter ants do, but unlike ants, they don’t eat it!

Leafcutter bees were once thought to only exist in South America but were discovered in Louisville by Dr.

8. Digger Bees

Digger bees are medium-sized solitary bees. They make nests by digging into soft soil with their rear legs and abdomen, then lining the cavity with pollen, nectar, and water.

They do not form colonies or live in hives. Digger bees are typically most active during the day when it is warm outside.

They usually fly close to the ground and can be hard to see because they may be camouflously colored to match their surroundings.

There are several different species found throughout North America.

9. Polyester Bees

Polyester bees are a type of stingless bee that is sometimes confused with honeybees, but they have one distinct difference: they have a hairy abdomen instead of the smooth abdomen found on honeybees.

Polyester bees are solitary and live alone but can also be social.

Unlike honeybees, polyesters don’t make wax or produce honey. These types of bees in Kentucky have large amounts of a waterproof substance called propolis which is used to seal cracks and prevent pests from entering their nests.

Polyester bees can be found throughout most regions in North America and south into Mexico, Central America, and South America.

10. Masked Bees

Masked Bees are small, solitary bees that feed on flowers. The females construct their nest by cutting a hole into the back of a leaf with their mandibles.

They then fill the nest with nectar and pollen they collect from other plants.

Masked Bees sting if handled but are not aggressive and will only do so when threatened. Their nests can be found near the ground, on or under shrubs, or in weeds.

The masked Bee (Andrena cineraria) is an insect in Hymenoptera and the family Andrenidae.

11. Cuckoo Bees

Carder bees are solitary bees that nest in the ground. They are usually one of the first types of bees to emerge after a snowstorm because they don’t need to build a home for themselves.

They make their nests by drilling into the ground with their mandibles.

Carder bees feed on nectar and pollen, which they gather from flowers around their nesting site.

These types of bees in Kentucky hibernate during the winter months and emerge again when it starts to warm up. 

Some types of bees in Kentucky have several generations yearly, while others will have just one generation per year.

It depends on what time of the year it is when these types of bee populations were established initially.

12. Mason Bees

Mason bees are one of the most popular types of bees in Kentucky. These insects live up to their name by building a nest out of mud, which they then use to create their honeycomb cells.

The female mason bee collects pollen and nectar from flowers and plants, while the male mates with her.

Mason bees are considered solitary pollinators because they don’t live with other insects as honeybees do. They will often create nests away from humans, so it’s important not to disturb them when you find them.

In many cases, mason bees may abandon their nest after it’s been disturbed, said Mike Eskelson, Extension Entomologist at the University of Kentucky.

Males usually mate with only one female during their lifetime, and females only reproduce once per year.

Mason bees have smaller populations than honeybees, but they still make an enormous difference for crops that depend on insect pollination!

13. Leaf Cutter Bees

Leaf Cutter Bees are a type of bee known for their ability to cut pieces from plants and leaves. They use the leaf pieces to create nest cells for their larvae, which can be found worldwide.

These types of bees in Kentucky are also known as Megachile spp., and they specialize in cutting down tough leaves like those from trees or shrubs.

The Leaf Cutter Bees pollinate plants by getting pollen on their bodies, which they then transfer to other flowers while feeding on nectar.

Leaf-cutter bees will not sting humans but can attack if someone disturbs the nest or accidentally touches one of the hive entrances.

14. Miner Bees

Miner Bees are one of the types of bees in Kentucky you may not know exist. These black and yellow striped bees nest underground on the ground or under rocks and logs during the summer.

The males fly around looking for a mate, while the females stay home to guard the nest.

They’re also known as leafcutters because they cut pieces from leaves to line their nests with soft material, like plant stems or petals.

Miner Bees do not have pollen baskets on their legs, so they can only feed themselves nectar by sucking it straight up through the long tongue that sticks out of their head.

If you see these bees hovering near flowers, then chances are good that the flowers have large quantities of nectar, which is why these types of bees enjoy visiting them.

15. Carder Bees

Carder Bees are a type of solitary bee native to North America. They are known for their hairy bodies and habit of collecting plant material from various sources, like dandelions, clover, mullein, and thistles.

In terms of appearance and behavior, carder bees have been said to resemble bumblebees. 

Female carder bees will create small nests out of plant fibers that they collect from the surrounding area, which they line with feathers or other soft materials before laying eggs.

The nests are typically made near the ground so the female can quickly go back and forth while she collects nesting materials.


In conclusion, it is a wonder that we have such a diverse population of bees. There are 15 types of bees in Kentucky that you may not have known existed.

Some might be new to you, while others might be familiar. 

Either way, it is essential to know what type of bee is affecting your region so that you can learn how to keep them safe and secure.

They provide invaluable services like pollination, which maintains our world green! 

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